Special issue: Perspectives on teachers’ transdisciplinary professional competence


What are the prevalent understandings of the concept of teachers´ professional competence? What knowledge forms and learning arenas are significant in developing teacher competences for the 21st century? In what ways can transdisciplinary goals of teacher education (such as diversity, R&D and digital competence) contribute in forming teachers´ professional competence? This special issue’s contributions address a variety of perspectives on core concepts for understanding the complexity of teachers´ professional competence.

This special issue will consist of both commissioned papers and open call papers. The open call concerns two themes:

  • Teachers’ transdisciplinary competencies
  • Teachers’ professional diversity competence

Teachers’ transdisciplinary competencies

Teacher education programmes are characterised by large variety in subject areas and lack of coherence and common vision (NOKUT, 2006; Haug, 2010; Hammerness, 2013). There is a need to gain insight into transdisciplinary learning processes to understand how different modes of knowledge can support the development of professional competence (Mausethagen, 2015; Christensen, Eikeland, Hellne-Halvorsen & Lindbo, 2018). Furthermore, it is necessary to learn more about how learning arenas, such as campus and student placement, play different roles in developing teachers’ professional competence (Caspersen, Bugge & Oppegaard, 2017; Dahl et al., 2016). 

Literature on competencies for the 21st century, emphasize that society is changing faster (Binkley et al., 2012; Partnership for 21st century learning, 2007). Metacognition, learning to learn, and similar concepts, are described as awareness of the students own learning strategies and methods. These competences are further linked to being able to work independently, balance short-term and long-term goals and have good endurance, concentration and ability to perform, as well as being curious and innovative. Increasingly, teacher education programmes stress transdisciplinary goals: learning outcomes that transcend subject boundaries and cannot be reduced to a sum of goals in discrete subjects (e.g. Brekke, 2004; Bjørke & Braut, 2009).

We call for articles discussing the concept transdisciplinary competencies – the background and reasons of the increasing role in teacher education. How is the relationship between academic subject knowledge and more generic competencies in initial teacher education to be understood?

Teachers’ professional diversity competencies

Research on past teacher education programmes in Norway shows that few students believe they have adequate knowledge of diversity-related pedagogical concepts (Følgjegruppa for lærarutdanningsreforma, 2015, p. 111). Consequently, a 15-credit unit on diversity has been integrated as a part of the subject area pedagogy and aims at addressing such as knowledge of multilingualism and learning communication and collaboration with students and parents with different beliefs, different social backgrounds, and different linguistic affiliations.

However, the very concept of diversity as it is used in teacher education needs clarification (Westrheim & Hagatun, 2015, s. 169; Dyrnes, Johansen & Jonsdottir, 2015). Recently, the concept has gained a more prominent place in educational discourse. From its original usages addressing multiculturalism and religion, the concept now includes identity categories such as gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class and functionality (Røthing & Bjørnestad, 2015). The concepts of intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1989), which points to the ways that different aspects of diversity acquire new meanings when viewed in relation to each other (Røthing & Bjørnestad, 2015), and superdiversity, which denotes diversity not only between ethnic groups, but also within them (Vertovec, 2007), are further developments of the concept of diversity.

A key question concerns how education can help students develop such professional diversity competence. What constitutes such a professional transdisciplinary competence, and how can the initial teacher programme support students' development of such skills?

We call for articles discussing the concept of teachers’ professional diversity competence, including different perspectives. Important background for the article could be research on development of the initial student’s professional diversity competence and/or how the dimension of multilingualism plays a part in diversity competence in general.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: October 1st, 2019

Deadline for full papers: February 15th, 2020

Estimated publication date: May, 2020.

Abstracts of max 500 words to be sent to the guest editors directly (bjorsme@oslomet.no, monicajo@oslomet.no and hannec@oslomet.no). Papers based on abstracts approved for development to full papers for this issue, are to be uploaded to the platform directly. See Instruction for Authors on the website.


Binkley, M., Erstad, O., Herman, J., Raizen, S., Ripley, M., Miller-Ricci, M. & Rumble, M. (2012). Defining twenty-first century skills. In Griffin, P., McGaw, B. & Care, E. (Eds.), Assessment and teaching of 21st Century skills. (pp. 17-66). Dordrecht: Springer.

Bjørke, G. & Braut, G.S. (2009). To karrierevegar – jamstilte, men ulike. Uniped, 32(4/2009), s 40-50.

Caspersen, J., Bugge, H. & Oppegaard, S.M.N. (2017). Humanister i lærerutdanningene. Valg og bruk av pensum, kompetanse og rekruttering, faglig identitet og tilknytning. HiOA. Oslo.

Christensen, H., Eikeland, O., Hellne-Halvorsen, E.-B., Lindbo, I.-M. (Eds) (2018): Vitenskapelighet og kunnskapsforståelse i profesjonene. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.

Crenshaw, K. (1989). Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory and antiracist politics, University of Chicago Legal Forum, Vol. 1989: Iss. 1, Article 8.

Dahl, T. et al. (2016). Om lærerrollen. Et kunnskapsgrunnlag. Fagbokforlaget. Bergen.

Dyrnes, E.M., Johansen, G. & Jónsdóttir, G. (2015). Hvordan forbereder PPU lærerstudenter på møtet med det flerkulturelle klasserommet? Norsk pedagogisk tidsskrift, 03-04/2015, 220-232.

Følgjegruppa for lærarutdanningsreforma (2015). Rapport nr 5. Grunnskulelærarutdanningane etter fem år - status, utfordringar og vegar vidare,  18. mars 2015.

Hammerness, K. (2013). Examining features of teacher education in Norway. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 57(4), 400–419.

Haug, P. (Ed.) (2010). Kvalifisering til læreryrket. Oslo: Abstrakt forlag AS.

Mausethagen, S. (2015). Læreren i endring?: om nye forventninger til lærerprofesjonen og lærerarbeidet. Universitetsforlaget.

NOKUT (2006). Evaluering av allmennlærerutdanningen i Norge 2006. Del 1: Hovedrapport.

Partnership for 21st century learning (2007). Partnership for 21st century learning: Framework for 21st century learning. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/about-us/p21-framework

Røthing, Å. & Bjørnestad, E. (2015). Kompetanse for mangfold. Norsk pedagogisk tidsskrift 03-04/2015 (Volum 99).

Vertovec, S. (2007). Super-diversity and its implications, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30(6), 1024-1054.

Westrheim, K. & Hagatun, K. (2015). Hva betyr «kompetanse for mangfold» i utdanningssystemet? - Et kritisk perspektiv på mangfolddiskursen. Norsk pedagogisk tidsskrift, 03-04/2015, 168-180.